Former CBMW president Owen Strachan has an article up at The Gospel Coalition that has been trending for the last few days: Gospel Hope in Hookup Culture. Strachan offers four solutions to the problem of hookup culture, while managing to omit the obvious biblical solution to the problem of rampant sexual immorality; if you burn with passion, marry.
Instead of directly exhorting young people to marry, Strachan offers mostly feminist talking points coated with a thin veneer of what he calls the “Biblical sexual ethic.” The first talking point is:
1. Promote an ethic that focuses on the whole person, not ‘hotness.’
2. Promote God-honoring romance, not sexual utilitarianism.
Point number three is back to standard feminist boiler plate, and even uses the feminist term rape culture:
3. Train men to care for women, not prey on them.
…Wade reports, students today are suffering from “rape culture,” sexual assault, the loss of intimacy, the lack of committed relationships
What is so striking here is that women are deliberately rejecting the protections that a biblical model provides for women in the form of fathers and husbands. They are doing so because submitting to a father or husband is unbearable to the feminist mind. Instead of the protective roles of husbands and fathers, feminists have called for all men to make sure all women have unlimited freedom to (among other things) have sex with random strangers. Anything short of this is defined by feminists as “rape culture”, and Strachan is unwittingly adopting and promoting this frame of mind.
Point number four is yet another feminist plea:
4. Help students see they are not defined by their sexuality.
Hookup culture is equally corrosive for women. According to Wade, “Sexy costume themes” at campus parties “reward women for revealing and provocative clothes, stratify them and put them into competition, all while reminding them that it’s their job to make parties sexy” (195).
Not long ago, you would only see this kind of mindframe in women’s studies courses. Today it saturates complementarian Christian thinking.
In a separate related piece Strachan wrote at Midwestern Seminary’s* Center for Public Theology, he asserts that women are being forced into fornication:
The new sexualized marketplace is much like the old one—structured around strict male and female differentiation, with men leading women. But the old culture, one shaped by a Judeo-Christian ethic, called men to self-denying monogamy and self-sacrificial leadership. The old culture disciplined men and protected women. The new culture does neither. It frees men to prey on women and leaves women in a horrifyingly vulnerable place.
The denial here is breathtaking, as women have been very open for decades about seeing marriage as a trap that keeps them from freely exercising their sexuality. There is no secret here; this is an open rebellion. Strachan has to understand this, at least at some level, which is why he and so many others take such great pains to avoid telling young people that the biblical solution is to marry and stay married.
Interestingly, while complementarian leadership has fully internalized large portions of feminist thought, the comments to the article show that the contradiction between slightly re-branded feminist boilerplate and reality is starting to bleed through. Commenter Jason2010 opened his response to the article with:
“Train men to care for women, not to prey on them”.
This statement indicates that the author may not fully understand the realities of the phenomenon he responding to…
Elizabeth M agreed, opening her comment with:
I don’t know whether the author unintentionally meant to say that women are less capable of keeping the moral law or even perhaps that they are better at keeping sexual purity depending on how you read the article…but I do think he is just grossly unaware of the conversations and mindset that young women have today…
As did flgirl850, who replied to Jason2010’s comment with:
I agree 100%.
Note that these are the only three comments left on this trending article since it was published several days ago, and two of them are from women.
*Midwestern Seminary is the same group that brought us The Problem With Our Complementarianism, which compared male leadership of the church with “a room of chimps all chimping…”